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Abstract

The effect of fiber content on the fracture toughness of short glass fiber reinforced and rubber toughened nylon-6 has been investigated using the essential work of fracture (EWF) analysis under both quasi-static and impact rates of loading. Under quasi-static loading rate, matrix plastic deformation played a major role. Addition of 10 wt% of short glass fibers into a rubber toughened nylon-6 matrix improved the fracture toughness substantially. This is due to the synergistic effect that comes from matrix yielding and fiber related energy absorption such as fiber debonding, fiber pull-out and fiber fracture. With further increasing the glass fiber content, up to 20 and 30 wt%, even though plastic deformation could still take place on the fracture surfaces, the depth of the fracture process zones was much smaller when compared with the system with 10 wt% of glass fibers. The reduction in fracture process zone caused the reduction in fracture toughness. Under impact loading rate, the unreinforced blend still fractured in a ductile manner with gross yielding in the inner fracture process zone and the outer plastic zone. The unrein-forced blend therefore possesseed higher fracture toughness. For the fiber reinforced blends, the matrix fractured in brittle manner and so fracture toughness of the reinforced blends decreased dramatically. The impact fracture toughness increased slightly after incorporation of a higher weight percentage of glass fibers.